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Turretless Defiant


Admiral Puff
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I've just tea-leafed the turret from a 1:72 Airfix BP Defiant (the new version) to use in converting an Airfix Beaufighter to the turreted trials aircraft. This leaves me with a deficient Defiant kit, and it occurred that it gives me an opportunity to build the proposed single-seat version. I've found a few words about the beast, but no pictures. Did it actually get built? If so I'd appreciate being pointed in the general direction of any pictures.

 

(It will probably be some sort of whiffer - bubble canopy, probably a dorsal fin to put back the side area, four cannon armament, etc.)

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10 minutes ago, Admiral Puff said:

Did it actually get built? If so I'd appreciate being pointed in the general direction of any pictures.

the protype was built without a turret

Boulton%20Paul%20Defiant%208%20(02)-960.

 

and this

 

Boulton-Paul%20Defiant%20(117)_Page_06-9

 

from the Profile

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Aircraft-Profiles/Britain/WWII/Boulton-Paul-Defiant

 

14 minutes ago, Admiral Puff said:

(It will probably be some sort of whiffer - bubble canopy, probably a dorsal fin to put back the side area, four cannon armament, etc.)

then this will be up your street

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/boulton-paul-defiant.8329/

yo0u need to join to see larger images

 

There are some of project in James Goudlings 'Interceptors' book, with drawings,  it can be got cheap in the UK,  no idea about Oz though

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Interceptor-Single-seat-multi-gun-Fighters-Multi-gun/dp/071101583X

 

the link gives you the ISBN etc,  

 

HTH

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Many moons ago I had a wee daydream about the Boulton-Paul Dauntless, a dedicated dive bomber and ground attack aircraft based on the Defiant single-seat. A sort of cross between the Stuka and the Il-2.

Mines, when I eventually get round to it, will probably be toting a couple of 40mm cannon to hunt Rommel's tanks 😀

John 

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Reference the single seat conversion, sans turret; this image was taken on 13th August 1940, and had been an independent endeavour by Boulton Paul to give the Air Ministry an option for a third single seat fighter. The reasons it never came to fruition, amongst others was that the Air Ministry would not commit resources to a third fighter, and Boulton Paul's slow production of the Defiant made them think that getting the deliveries as per the contract could well be an issue. Earlier in 1940 the Air Ministry ordered an official investigation into why Boulton Paul were failing to meet their targets, plus the electricians at the factory had undertaken industrial action in April 1940. Even in 1940, there were individuals looking ahead to what would replace the Hurricane for it was mooted that  Hurricane production would cease sometime in 1941.

 

The two ejection seat test beds were indeed DR944 and AA292, The former was a TT I and had spent most of it's time with the Americans. When the Ministry of Aircraft Production approved the loan of a Defiant on 11th October 1944, which saw DR944 received at Denham two months later. It was in a poor state and need a complete overhaul, which included the strengthening of the rear fuselage. The first ejection test was undertaken on 10th May 1945, with the seat being loaded with sandbags and fired from the static aircraft which was on jacks. The following day it was flown to Wittering where it undertook the first in flight ejection, under the control of Brian Greenstead who was the chief test pilot for Rotol. Later that month more tests were undertaken from Beaulieu. DR944 was struck off charge in May 1948. AA292 was built as a Mk I before being converted to a TT III in 1944. It undertook seat trials in 1945 and was eventually scrapped in March 1947.

The attached image is reputedly DR944 while under American management.

 

cqWyXLg.jpg

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Here's an idea whose value came and went long long ago...  a Defiant special type with a lightweight fake turret with fake guns in it, but eight inconspicuous forward firing MGs mounted in the wings as per Spitfire-Hurrican.  These ac would fly at the front of a formation of conventional Defiants.  When 109s made head on attacks to avoid the turret guns they would be dealt with by these specials.  Did the RAF already think of this?

 

ilj

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On 12/08/2022 at 12:53, John said:

Many moons ago I had a wee daydream about the Boulton-Paul Dauntless, a dedicated dive bomber and ground attack aircraft based on the Defiant single-seat. A sort of cross between the Stuka and the Il-2.

Mines, when I eventually get round to it, will probably be toting a couple of 40mm cannon to hunt Rommel's tanks 😀

John 

 

To be honest I was also always wondering why the Defiant was apart from its Night Fighter role only relegated to second line duties in the later years of its career. In spite of attrition and combat losses there was still a sufficient number of aircraft available in early 1942 that could have been modified like that and sent to North Africa to be deployed in a similar fashion like the Hurricane IID. In other words, a turretless Defiant with desert camo and underwing cannons in 6 Squadron colours would be a nice what-if project.

Edited by 112 Squadron
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I don't know that there were lots of Defiants sitting around unused; however even if so it would not have been worth the additional logistics/training load involved in having yet another mediocre fighter in the Middle East.  A single-seater Defiant would still have the heavier structure and slightly smaller wing, resulting in inferior performance to the established Hurricane, and with (quoted above) existing doubts about Boulton Paul's speed of reaction and production.

 

As for fake turrets on otherwise standard fighters -- a load of extra drag really wasn't what the type required in any role.   Just how many times do you imagine this kind of trick would work - if any?

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The simple reason why the Defiant was pulled out of the front line role is that it was simply too slow. In 1942 Defiant crews only made six claims in the first six months as they were having difficulties keeping up with the newer German bombers, so the decision was made to start the process of re-equipping those existing Defiant squadrons with Beaufighters and Mosquitos.

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DR944 and DR945 followed the same path - off the production line, then to 46 MU before going to 11 Combat Crew Replacement Centre. Finished in standard RAF colour scheme, it looks like the image I posted may indicate a repaint, but on second glance I can see the possible remnants of part of the black striping at the very top of the starboard undercarriage door. Now, if this photo had been taken from the port side, we would have a better idea as the back stripes cover the port door more substantially.

I've attached another image ( albeit not too good ) of another American Defiant coded JW-J, which still retains the fin flash.

D7GZHDR.jpg

Edited by AndyL
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If anyone is interested here's the original ejection seat as tested in the Defiant.

And going back to the OP; another option is the prototype Defiant K8310 which finished it's days as a ferry aircraft. It had the turret removed and a seat installed, and the aircraft was fitted with a sliding canopy for the passenger. Just a thought...

pw5FI7p.jpg

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Another great Defiant reference book is Valiant Wings Publishing " The Bolton Paul Defiant A Technical Guide"by Richard A Franks 2018   Airframe Detail No.5. nice colour plates and good 1/48th scale plan's.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm only returing to BM after a long absense but was intrigued by the speculation on "whacky" developments of the basic Defiant.  I seem to remember seeing a book somewhere that had Bolton Paul's own development ideas.  These included single seat and turreted variants with bigger engines and up to 12 machine guns or 6 x 20mm cannon wing mounted firing forwards.  And more heavily armed turrets - 4 x 20mm canon?  I think there was a photo of a full-scale mock up turrent.  There was certainly a photo of a wind tunnel model with 4 or 6 wing mounted cannon, a turret, and Centaurus engine.    My problem is that I can't remember the book so can't refererence it!! 😭.  But if someone knows, then some of the speculation in earlier posts might be shown to be not that outlandish after all! 😀 

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